The girls of the Tokyo Auto Salon 2017. And a few cars

Each year in Tokyo has an auspicious start: The Tokyo Auto Salon, probably the craziest car show in the whole wide world. And after Victorianism has declared victory over car shows elsewhere, the Tokyo Auto Salon probably remains the world’s sexiest.

The Tokyo Auto Salon is far out!  All the way to Chiba, beyond Tokyo’s very generously drawn city limits. From where I live in Tokyo, it takes me as long to get to the Tokyo Auto Salon as from central Tokyo to Nagoya. The trip is worth it, and I make it every year.

As a Dailykanban tradition, here this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon picture album. And no, they don’t come with the car.

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Entering the Tokyo Auto Salon on Friday morning, we are saluted by a uniformed guard

Mysterious Orient: Low Taxes Send Car Sales Lower In Japan

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Except in certain political quarters, high taxes are generally seen as an impediment to sales. The reverse seems to be true in Japan. There, a postponed sales taxes hike darkens the outlook for new car sales.

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The Cheap Yen Party Is Over: Nissan’s Lackluster Earnings Promise Gloom For Japanese Automakers

Nissan earnings - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

For more than two years, the Japanese auto industry profited from a cheap domestic currency, which translated foreign sales in to fat earnings at home. The party is over. This became clear today at 16:30 local, when Nissan put the last quarter earnings on the desks of reporters assembled at the company’s 8th floor meeting room of its Yokohama, Japan, headquarters. The company’s first-quarter net profit fell 10.7% year-on-year, operating profits in the same period were down 9.2%.

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Toyota Launches A Wooden Car

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The Ise Grand Shrine, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu, is the holiest shrine of the Shinto religion. Every 20 years, people tear it down. Then, they build it new, all from wood, without a single nail. They have been doing this for around 1,300 years. Instead of preserving a single structure, the original design, and most of all the skill to build, are preserved from the eroding effects of time. “Its secret isn’t heroic engineering or structural overkill, but rather cultural continuity,” writes the Long Now Foundation.  Now, Toyota does the same with cars.

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Toyota’s Scion Is Dead, Long Live Toyota’s GAZOO

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Last week, Toyota announced that it would turn Daihatsu into a fully-owned division. Yesterday, the carmaker said it would ditch its Scion brand. This morning, Toyota presented in Tokyo a new corporate identity for its GAZOO racing stable. The events are connected.

The ditching of Scion caused much handwringing stateside. In the rest of the world, it could hardly matter. No wonder: Scion was primarily a U.S. exercise, with a little late blooming into Canada.

I wasn’t surprised by the announcement.  More in Forbes

Mini Vehicles A Big Pain In Japan, Drag Down January Registrations

Japan - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

The new year did not bring a change to the current downtrend in Japanese auto sales. Registrations across all segments were found down 4.6%, once data reported by various industry associations were consolidated. Again, the market was dragged down by continued weakness among a Japanese peculiarity, mini vehicles.

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Data here.

Will Toyota And Suzuki Create A Mini Vehicle Giant?

Osamu Suzuki - Picture courtesy Forbes

Today, rumors that Toyota Motor Corp. might be planning a tie-up with Suzuki rattled the relative tranquility of Tokyo’s auto scene. Suzuki, and Toyota through its Daihatsu subsidiary, are the leading players in Japan’s idiosyncratic “kei car,” or mini vehicle market. So why should you care whether one maker of alleged cars powered by a pint-sized 0.6 liter engine covets another?

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Ford Surrenders To Japan

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Ford Motor Co. yesterday said sayonara to the Japanese auto market, and selamat tinggal to the Indonesian. It did so without great fanfare, actually, the exodus came to light only after Reuters got its hands on an email sent by Asia Pacific President Dave Schoch to all employees in the region. With that, the company had to confirm that it will exit both markets by year-end. What Ford did not say good-bye to was its usual “closed market Japan” rhetoric.

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